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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Day in the Life. Part I: The Morning, or There Around the Morning.

All that I could tell you was that Monday morning I must get up and go northwards. I was thinking Kentucky or so. I needed some more stores to "hit". A phrase that my boss, whom I have yet to meet in person, likes to use. I knew that I must stop in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the night and as for the coming weekend, plans were simmering to spend it at a friend's in West Virginia. Needless to say, I woke up not too late and certainly, by all means, not too early. I'll let you be the judge of my anti-rooster-like tendencies, for in the tenacious task of getting up in the mornings, nothing in this big broad world is as relative as the words, "late" or "early" or describing just how and what one's morning is like.

As long hauls in cars go, you can get easily get wearisome of all your CDs and every radio station on, that's where the wonderful invention of the audio book comes into play, as I was just recently introduced. And for the most part, the ever -trustworthy Crackerbarrel was always there with its own selection. But after 3 or 4 books from there, all that's left are Oprah Club books and other novels designed for menopausal ex-wives on their long drives to shopping plazas. I needed something different. And that brought me into Birmingham's downtown library. But the catch was, that a couple of days before when I knew a long drive was ahead, I had planned (I don't do everything spur of the moment) to get my library card there in order to check out an audio book. But they did the unthinkable and the insult upon all insults, they denied me membership.....only because I lived out in the middle of nowhere on I-20, and I am not a resident of Jefferson County. Thinking this rule absurd enough to step past (aren't all absurd rules this way?) I thought to try again on this particular day by claiming an address of my previous residence in Birmingham..aka..Jefferson County. A house that has been interestingly burnt down only a few months after I moved out. It's a long story that involves a friend of mine and his fireplace-making methods. So this house exists, it's just badly charred with no one but a stray cat or two residing in it. I was also hoping that the same stringent lady that had turned me down earlier was not working that day, but to my book-hungry frustration, she was still there, being the ever spartan-soldiered librarian. This only amplified my stubborn resolve to get an audio book from there, and amplified my rebellious revolt to do it by getting around those idiot rules. I needed a ploy. And let me tell you I have exceptional experience in such matters, most especially in libraries (Me and two other guys one time managed to camp out in my college's library). So I knew several tricks of the trade. And I knew that at such a time, I had to do what extreme circumstances in extreme measures of espionage calls for...and that's donning a disguise. Now mind you, I hate to work up your expectation. Here you are thinking of such fanciful characters as Zorro, or an Indian, or even a wild animal, like say, a large, hairy Bison, all costumes that I have not just worn...but i have more or less "become" in order to carry out specific strategies. This list could go on and on revealing my expertise in that fine art of disguises, but here all that was my disguise, was simply balling up my long hair and stuffing it under a baseball cap. -Not just your ordinary ballcap, but a ballcap that was given to me only weeks before by my Bigdaddy, as he had given all of the grandchildren for our extended families' stay in the Smoky Mountains. It had this picture of a bear on it and it read below the bear, "Smoky Mtns". Perfect! I also changed shirts and in the brief glimpse in front of a mirror, I was a new person. I looked.....Alabamian.

I got to the front desk with 2 audio books, I had picked out. One, a book that was a series of interviews with several well-known authors. The other, was nonetheless, Virgil's "Aeneid". I then marched into the library's front desk and proceeded with the request of all requests for book-lovers, "I would like to get a library card."
"Do you live in Jeffereson County"
"Yes", I pushed out the lie, not celebrating it, more like justifying it for the cause of greater understanding, and deep down inside of me there is that belief, however, wrong it may be, that "Integrity is pliable if met in the face of stupidity." And these rules where just that...stupid.
"What's your address?"
"1004 19th Terrace."
"I need proof that you live there." After one goes for physical deceipt his lips will not stumble too far behind in its deception.
"I have this." I pulled out my last fall semester's UAB card.
"You live on campus?"
"Well, I'm sorry I'm gonna need more proof."
I was foiled again.
I began to see how ridiculous this all was, here I was in route for my adult job trying to fight with the librarian over my address so that I could check out some books. I was turned down. Maybe these librarians are sharper than we imagine, maybe she knew the disguise from the get-go. I left irritated.

Driving off, I received a call from my company's secretary, it turns out that after inquiring about Cincinatti, we had many, many stores there. So I decided to make most of my work to be done there. I wasn't going to roam the Kentucky countryside. No, we hardly had any of our merchandise there. It was straight up to Cinicinatti for me. That's the muteability of my job, plans can change in the middle of my journey to get there. In Gardendale, a northern suburb of B'ham, I stopped at a Walgreen's intent on getting a reorder. But the store manager wanted to let the T-shirts die down a bit before another order come in, so I left with no numbers to give my company. I drove a little ways, and I remember getting ticked about something that I can't really remember. I think deep down I was still upset about not having Virgil to listen to, or getting beat by the librarian and her ridiculous rules, and you know how things can brood, and shape, and shift and before long you are focusing on everything that's negative. You must realize that on a long drive I can go through a vast range of moods. Sometimes laughing and giddy with extreme joy, sometimes sunk in bitterness and gloom, sometimes overflowing with the emotion and surge that's on the radio, and sometimes frothing in rage. That's why I wanted an audio book. It stabilizes me. It keeps my mind outside itself where all thought is passion, -alive and poignant, and gets me into the mind of another.

Just north of Huntsville, the whim hit me to call up a friend of mine, Chris Campbell, who lives there and see what he is up to. But I had already passed him and it would take about an hour's drive just to see him. So I scratched that whimsical idea aside , after talking it over with him. I was still on the phone with Chris when I see a hitch-hiker in the distance. The Sunday's lesson on the Good Samaritan flashed through my mind. So I decide to pull over. I tell Chris that I'm picking up a hitch-hiker and that I'll talk to him later. The man approached with his back-pack. When I drove by him, I gave that close intuitive inspection, trying to get a feel for his character before I decided to pick him up. He passed the inspection. But as he got closer I realized all the tatoos and the missing teeth that one can miss in a short glance. To be Continued...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying your stories as I sit in a Holiday Inn Express in Meridian, MS. Being from Ohio, I particularly like your midge-adventure in Cincinnati.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous the author said...

Thanks...and that's interesting, for I just drove through Meridian, MS today. "Ships that pass in the night"...and whom do I have the privilege of writing to here? If you don't want to reveal who you are....how 'bout at least a hint.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Mark Goble said...

Sorry, I didn't intend to post anonymously. It's Mark Goble (otherwise known as Ben's dad).

I'm really enjoying your blog as I make my weekly visit to Jackson, MS.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous the author said...

Oh...okay, I see. I didn't know you were from Ohio.

So if you happen to want the directions to the midget place the next time you're in Cincinnati, I'm your man.

11:38 PM  

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